Saturday, July 18, 2009

My comrades in hospital

Going to go back now and do a post I was going to do a while back about the people I met over the 8 weeks I spent in hospital. I am not mentioning these by names as that would be unfair on them, but I write this post so that readers can get an idea of the type of people one might meet whilst in a Psychiatric ward of a busy city hospital. I mention no names and represent my view not their actual diagnosis.

There was M
M I would assume to be Bipolar, from the fact that she seemed quite manic most of the time. M would often change her clothes 2-3 times a day. Each outfit very unique, picture floral leggins coloured Dr Martins and gypsie tops, tartan dresses, frilly skirts. She would wake in morning walk around with her stereo find a socket and dance around for a while in quiet room on her own. I was told she had tried to strip the day before I came on ward but I never saw that. Always pleasant to me, She would shout things up the corridors. The day they moved her to a treatment ward they used an empty duvet cover for her clothes as she had that many. I won't forget the conversation she had with me when I was missing my son one day. She said go to bed, stop all this dancing etc, play their game. Don't be like me. My son was young like yours the first time I came in here and hes grown now, don't waste that time. I saw her again on my recent admission, she seemed quieter.

Then K
K was a young man about 20. I believe He was a paranoid Schitzophrenic, as that's what I heard nurses say. He exposed himself to me and other female patients on two occasions both in a very bizare and (stretching) way. He was quite loud, didn't trust any of the staff and was restrained very day of the 5-6 days I think he spent on our ward. He had come in voluntarily and gone out on a section 3 to another ward. Yes he could be scary at times, but I remember the conversations I had with him where he was quite sweet. He told me he had been in and out of hospitals since being a child and so he had never knew what it was like to do anything normal like having a girlfriend. I saw him in the corridor a few months later they were letting him out after 2 months I hope he doesn't have to come back to those wards.

There was J
J was a lady from Thailand whose English was very limited. The first time I met J she ran up to myself and shouted 'FUCKER' in her Thai accent, it did startle me but knowing where I was I just got on with making tea. I later had to havebed next to her. That first night I woke to her face screaming "I not do what you want from me". I could also see she had been through my things. I took her out into corridor made us a drink and we chatted. I'm not sure why J was there but from what I gathered she had come to UK to be married to a rich man he had married her but forced her to do what she called 'bad' things, which involved video making she put it. She got away from that and now has new boyfriend but she gets confused and lashes out on him for ex husbands wrongs. she tried to kill him and ended up here. Believe me it is difficult to piece that together from a reluctant mainly Thai speaking angry woman. She was on the ward a weeek before being transferred for treatment.

There was T
T told me she was Bipolar. T was very abrupt and told you exactly what she thought of you. She said she could hear the voice of God telling her to do things or advising her. I think she used this as an excuse for rudeness as I heard her say things like 'God thinks you should have a bath' or 'God says you are too loose with your sex'. She told a friend I made in there, that she looked like her care co-ordinator who was a bitch, "so your a bitch too.". She only lasted few days on ward before she was moved becuase of the trouble she was causing.

D was the most troubled person I met whilst in there I think. Not that she thought she was. D thought she was an alien born on venus and orbiting the Earth. Everyone wanted to attack her energy apart from me. She wouldn't talk to her doctors because they had evil looks and then when they got another doctor then it was because they had glasses. When her daughter rang me she wouldn't take the call because it was an imposter. She used to frantically clean the hospital but problem was she used to pour water down the electric sockets and in the back of the fridge she insisted on pulling out, she therefore got stopped doing this with meds. When I saw her just before I left she still had these ideas, this saddened me.

Js came in one day when I had been to oc health to make clay animals. He had a hoodie, and a distinct smell of Eau de B.O. After I had been speaking to one of my friends he came over and sat in her seat. I think his opening line was 'I've been watching you and I know everything about you' he then told me my name, diagnosis, where I worked how old I was. with pinpoint accuracy. I think it must have been a fluke?. Anyhow he told me he had spent the last half an hour detox me from my meds because he loved me. He told me that he was meant for me not my fiance. All this was ok at first but then he started to get nasty if anyone else on the ward talked to me, if a HCA talked to me , I was sleeping with him. He told me he was Judas Iscariot and Jesus and I was mary Magdeline. he was on the ward to get me. He was moved from the ward after few days, and a complaint from me,.

I met many more people during those 8 weeks I spent there in total. But some who are now friends I won't write about. Most only spent a week there and needed a little push and support to get back on track. I was happy for those people. However the one common thing in patients was they mostly seemed to have a drug or/and alcohol problem. I saw one of my friends thrown off the ward for this, as you can't assess a drunk person. Others didn't get the full help they needed because of this obstruction.

These people were my comrades through some long and dark days. I have passed some since leaving hospital, our eyes meeting with a knowing look, neither wanting to acknowledge where we've been. I won't forget my time on A42 and A43 of the QMC and those I met there.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Hi Lareve

I have read this post a couple of times before. I didn't comment because I wasn't quite sure what to write.

I have stayed in acute environments on several occasions. Sometimes, seeing how ill other people were, I have felt a fraud for being there. Like I wasn't ill enough. Other times, I have felt so absorbed in my illness that other people didn't figure apart from being bodies moving sluggishly around the same environment.

I can remember specific people. Like a nurse who had had a breakdown at work. I remember how serene she seemed and that she permed my hair for me. Don't think they let that sort of 'free style' approach to living go on in acute care these days. I think H&S has removed all the possibilities for normal things to go on these days.

Actually, I am now remembering more people. What I remember most is their individuality. the lady that wore purple and yellow silk clothes and drew wonderful pictures and took me off to the pub for half a shandy.

Another time I was bawling. Feeling very sorry for meself and another patient, who was very poorly herself, came over and hugged me and tried to reassure me things would get better.

It is always the comfort and support from other patients that sticks in my mind as I look back.

Something modern acute care does not allow for..with its sterile rules and regulations.